Eating Seasonally

Find us at The University District farmers market on Saturdays, 9-2, and the West Seattle Farmers Market on sundays, 10-2.

We’re busy planting for the new season—and setting up irrigation. If you are interested in joining us for our 2016 CSA season, email us, or find the application at this link. We’re taking applications now!

If you want more flexibility than a CSA offers, consider purchasing a prepaid gift card. Click this link for more information.

Fall Week 2: What IS Purslane?

Lia loves her purslane!

Lia loves her purslane!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• “Yukon Gem” Potatoes
• Onions
• Cucumbers
• Purslane
• Tomatoes
• Sweet Peppers
• Dill or Cilantro
• Lettuce, Cabbage, or Swiss Chard

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Dry Shelling Beans, Garlic, Cauliflower

This week, we’re making the most of the sun by cultivating and weeding the last of the fall and winter crops. It’s the last busy week of the season. Personally, I’m looking for a break. It’s been a rough summer, with not enough hands for all the work.

So, a quick post to talk about purslane, because everything else should be self explanatory.

It’s a tangy, succulent green that is delicious and nutritious! High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, it’s great in a mixed salad, but I like it Persian style, with cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, and sometimes yogurt.

Here are a couple of links with even more ideas.

Purslane Recipes: 45 Things To Do With Fresh Purslane

>Purslane

Happy Fall!

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Summer Week 11: Catching Up

Corn and Pole Beans in the background, Winter Parsnips covered for insect protection in the middle, and Sprouting Broccoli transplants for spring in the front. Late Summer is about all the seasons.

Corn and Pole Beans in the background, Winter Parsnips covered for insect protection in the middle, and Sprouting Broccoli transplants for spring in the front. Late Summer is about all the seasons.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Torpedo or Walla Walla Onions
Shelling Beans or Swiss Chard
• “Irish Cobbler” Potatoes
• Orange or Purple Carrots
• Cucumbers
• Eggplant
• Broccoli or Tomatoes
 Summer Squash or Zucchini

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Green Beans, Lettuce, Peppers, Basil

I’m not going to talk about how I’ve missed the last eight weeks of blog posts. Farm life has been crazy. Busier than a normal summer, because those of us who are here have been working very long hours to keep all the summer crops thriving and harvested, as well as getting the winter crops established. August is the busiest month, and in a few weeks it will wind down. I’ll just add that we’ve learned a lot about hiring field workers for next year.

This is week 10 of 12 in our Summer Season. If you haven’t enrolled for Fall, I highly recommend it. Fall is my favorite—lots of fruiting crops, plus all the hearty crops of October: Squashes start coming in another month, frost-tinged greens, juicy root crops. And we still have plenty of time to enjoy the shelling beans and tomatoes and peppers.

Please email me to sign up for Fall, or pick up a paper application. The Fall season encompasses all of September and October and lasts 8 weeks. Our Winter season covers November and December, until the Holidays happen.

And, since I haven’t blogged in six weeks (gasp!) here is a recap of the summer bounty:

Summer Week 8

Summer Week 8

Summer Week 7

Summer Week 7

Summer Week 6

Summer Week 6

Summer Week 5

Summer Week 5

Summer Week 4 and our first farm potluck.

Summer Week 4 and our first farm potluck.

Summer Week 3

Summer Week 3

Summer Week 2: Lots to Share

This week's share is a bountiful one! And, the CSA-only UPick garden is open—pick all the Snap Peas, Shelling Peas, and flowers that you want—one of the perks of joining our CSA!

This week’s share is a bountiful one! And, the CSA-only UPick garden is open—pick all the Snap Peas, Shelling Peas, and flowers that you want—one of the perks of joining our CSA!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Torpedo Onions
• Sugar Snap Peas
• Orange and Purple Carrots
• Fresh Garlic
Beet Greens with Little Beets
• Red Butter Lettuce
• Red Romaine Lettuce
• Spinach
• Salad Turnips with Greens

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Zucchini, Fennel, Cucumbers, Green Beans

This first blog post of summer, at the tail end of the Week 2, is very late. And I apologize. I will do my best to be more on top of these things in the coming weeks.

We went into this season expecting another hot, dry year. But it’s been far from our expectation. One brief hot spell, followed by cooler and wet weather has made some crops very happy. It’s also made the weeds happy.

I’m happy to report, though, that our Summer season has started off with a bang. We have so many leafy crops. And peas! In fact, the rain and coolness has made a better season for peas than we’ve had in several years.

We love our new CSA Welcome Sign.

We love our new CSA Welcome Sign.

The U-Pick garden is up and running, and we have loads of Shelling Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and so many flowers! Make sure you take advantage of this free opportunity while you can! Later on we’ll have green beans and cherry tomatoes as well, and pumpkins, of course in the fall. But for now, take home armloads of flowers. You can pick any time during our CSA pickup windows: Tuesdays after 2:00 and Saturdays after noon.

 

Spring Week 8: The Hectic Beginning of Summer

Green Shallots, Spinach, Spicy Red Mustard, Nasturtium Flowers, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, and Garlic Scapes!

Green Shallots, Spinach, Spicy Red Mustard, Nasturtium Flowers, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, and Garlic Scapes!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Green Shallots (use like a sweet onion, with green onion tops)
• Garlic Scapes
• Baby Carrots
• Spinach
• Spicy Purple Mustard OR Cilantro
• Sugar Snap Peas
• Nasturtium Flowers

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Lettuces, Arugula, Baby Beets

This is a short and simple post just to let you know what you received in your share this week. We’ve hit high, busy season on the farm and we’re working about 60 hours per week planting, harvesting, weeding, and getting you your food!

The greenhouse peas are nearly finished and we’ll be waiting for a week or two until the outdoor peas are in full bloom. That experiment has turned out to be AMAZING, as we’ve already been harvesting and sharing sugar snaps with everyone for three weeks! That’s at least a month ahead of outdoor harvesting window. Pretty cool.

Our experiment with growing early Sugar Snap Peas in one of the greenhouses has been an overwhelming success. We started the plants in early February, and trellised them as high as we could. The vines reached eight feet tall, and then fell over. Nonetheless, they were loaded with peas and we've picked for four weeks.

Our experiment with growing early Sugar Snap Peas in one of the greenhouses has been an overwhelming success. We started the plants in early February, and trellised them as high as we could. The vines reached eight feet tall, and then fell over. Nonetheless, they were loaded with peas and we’ve picked for four weeks.

We continue to harvest greenhouse carrots planted in February, but other than that all the items your eating now are outside.

Potatoes, beans, the first round of broccoli and cauliflower, summer squash and cucumbers are all planted outside. The tomatoes are blooming. We’re getting ready to put the winter squash transplants outside this week, as well as the second round of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages, AND the Brussels sprouts for fall.

Please accept our apologies if we are difficult to communicate with for the next month. There really is very little time to spare as we get all the food planted!

Gabe, our new intern, has been doing a stellar job taking care of the U-Pick Garden this spring! The peas and strawberries are blooming and the we've had a hint of cut flowers blooming as well! It should be ready  just in time for the first Summer CSA pickup!

Gabe, our new intern, has been doing a stellar job taking care of the U-Pick Garden this spring! The peas and strawberries are blooming and the we’ve had a hint of cut flowers blooming as well! It should be ready just in time for the first Summer CSA pickup!

There are two weeks remaining of our Spring Season, and the Summer Season starts in just three weeks. June 17th is the first Tuesday pickup and Seattle delivery. I can’t believe it’s already here! Look for your startup email this week, and if you are signed up and don’t hear from me, please let me know!

Spring Week 3—Spring Limbo

Spring Limbo begins: The end of the overwintered crops, and not quite time for the spring-planted ones.

Spring Limbo begins: The end of the overwintered crops, and not quite time for the spring-planted ones.

Last WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Tiny Kale Leaves
• Leeks
• Broccoli Raab (Turnip Rapini)
• Turnip Greens with Tiny Turnips
• Spring Onions
• Miners’ Lettuce
• Rhubarb

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Radishes, Pea Shoots, Baby Lettuce, Baby Carrots

NO CSA PICKUP NEXT WEEK! APRIL 19-24!

We do our best to be very clear about the fickleness of Spring with our Spring CSA invitations. This is why. One week it’s cold and rainy, and the next it’s 80 degrees. We went from having the back of the farm flooded in surface water to everything being ready to plant in the space of just a week.

After eating hearty greens for so long, the first tender turnips and greens are soooo sweet!

After eating hearty greens for so long, the first tender turnips and greens are soooo sweet!

Unfortunately, that also means that our spring staples of budding brassicas are short-lived. All the Rapinis and Broccolinis just want to burst into flower and don’t stay at the budding stage very long. So, goodbye broccoli. At the same time, the crops that we’ve been able to get planted in the last few weeks aren’t quite ready.

The greenhouse carrots planted in February are starting to look like carrots! I'm guessing two more weeks, maybe three, until harvest.

The greenhouse carrots planted in February are starting to look like carrots! I’m guessing two more weeks, maybe three, until harvest.

This week’s turnips are coming from one of the greenhouses. The upcoming radishes, carrots, and green onions will also be coming from greenhouses. These are all crops we planted in February, when it was still freezing at night and raining outside.

Looking ahead to next week, however, we’re in limbo. Overwintered crops are spent and the newly planted things are not quite ready. But in two weeks it’s going to be awesome!

The U-Pick Garden is off to a great start! Gabe the Intern has been working hard to get Shelling Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Cutflowers, and Strawberries planted. It's so exciting!

The U-Pick Garden is off to a great start! Gabe the Intern has been working hard to get Shelling Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Cutflowers, and Strawberries planted. It’s so exciting!

So, NO PICKUPS NEXT week, April 19-24!
Since we’re still a week ahead, we’re still in line for 7 more weeks of Spring before the Summer Season begins in June. 

Spring Week 1—Early, But No Cigar

Our amazing first week of Spring CSA! Someone was very excited to dive in!

Our amazing first week of Spring CSA! Someone was very excited to dive in!

Last WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Savoy Cabbage
• Purple Sprouting Broccoli
• Leeks
• Broccoli Raab (Turnip Rapini)
• Radish Rapini
• Kale
• Italian Parsley
• Miners’ Lettuce

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Radishes, Pea Shoots, Sorrel, Baby Lettuce

NO CSA PICKUP THIS WEEK!

 

Last year we tried a lot of experiments. Experiments designed to get us an early start on harvestable crops. As a result, we have broccoli, cabbages, and leeks a-plenty. We have lots of nearly-blooming turnips, which is where the broccoli raab is coming from. We planted Parsley inside one of our greenhouses, so we’d have it’s tastiness in the spring, before the spring-planted parsley would be ready in May or June.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli looks like lilacs just getting ready to bloom. We sowed seeds last June, transplanted outside in July, and now we reap the fruits of all that labor. 9 months.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli looks like lilacs just getting ready to bloom. We sowed seeds last June, transplanted outside in July, and now we reap the fruits of all that labor. 9 months.

But, as we all know, Spring is the most fickle season. We had a lot of goods to start picking extra early, so we started the CSA two weeks earlier than projected. We didn’t want to waste all of that deliciousness, and it seemed like too much to take to weekend markets. So we fired up the CSA engine.

But now, we’re looking again after a chilly week, and things have slowed down. We’ll be skipping this week. And since it’s supposed to be warm and sunny this week, we’ll most likely be swimming in all kinds of sprouting brassicas next week. Lots of rapini/broccoli-type vegetables on the way. Green garlic and spring onions are on the way as well.

Taking a break from harvesting this week also means that we’ll be able to focus on getting more spring crops in the ground as well. We’ve been itching to get peas, spinach, turnips, carrots, and beets in the ground. Not to mention the 20,000 onion transplants that are patiently waiting in a mountain of wood chips.  After last year’s super early warm spring, we’re feeling quite swamped this spring. Record-breaking super-rain and all. We need this sun to dry up some of the standing water lakes all over the low parts of the farm. Potatoes will be here next week, and we want to plant as early as possible for the biggest yield later on.

We appreciate your understanding, and we’ll be back next week.

So, NO PICKUPS this week!

This ancient Greengage Tree is the oldest living thing on our farm. Over 100 years old, most likely, and she blooms heavily every spring. But we only get fruit once a decade or so. Like eating honey. So delicious are those neon yellow-green fruits!

This ancient Greengage Tree is the oldest living thing on our farm. Over 100 years old, most likely, and she blooms heavily every spring. But we only get fruit once a decade or so. Like eating honey. So delicious are those neon yellow-green fruits!

Early Spring Surprises—and Mystery Boxes!

 

Napa Cabbage, planted in the greenhouse in September is ready to flower now in this early spring.

Napa Cabbage, planted in the greenhouse in September is ready to flower now in this early spring.

This winter has been warmer, and wetter than usual. We finally did get the tractor unstuck in January, after getting it pretty well secured in the mud. This has never been an issue before in our 17 years here on this property. We measured (unscientifically) over 18″ of rain between Halloween and New Year’s Day.

We planted almost 1,000 of these last July, hoping that they would be a lovely change come spring.

We planted almost 1,000 of these last July, hoping that they would be a lovely change come spring.

So, yes, it’s incredibly soggy. Too wet to do anything outside really. Any kind of planting or ground preparation. But the greenhouses are gearing up! We’ve got the first round of extra early carrots planted, sugar snap peas are coming along, and the first of the baby lettuce. Turnips and radishes will go in this week, and green onions.

Kale is durable, hardy, and delicious through the winter. But this is the reward for waiting all winter: Kale Broccolini.

Kale is durable, hardy, and delicious through the winter. But this is the reward for waiting all winter: Kale Broccolini.

Most of our earliest crops are wintered-over. We plant in the late summer/early fall with the intention of harvesting in March and April. But last year, I planned for extra. We have a half-acre of turnips, destined not for a root crop, but for tender, bittersweet Rapini! We’ve got 1,000 Sprouting Purple Broccoli plants, and they’re about ready to harvest now. Thyme, Sorrel, and Italian Parsley are harvestable. Green Onions and Leeks are holding their own, as are the Savoy Cabbages and Napa Cabbage from last year. So, we actually have a lot of things to eat. But they are maturing sporadically, so there isn’t enough to justify a market weekend.

HOWEVER, I HAVE A PLAN!

I’m going to take orders for Mystery Boxes of these tasty, February goodies. $25 per box will get you:
• Napa Cabbage
• Savoy Cabbage
• Sprouting Broccoli
• Flower Sprouts (a.k.a. Kalettes)
• Leeks, Green Onions
• Purple Salad Mustard
• Italian Parsley
• Thyme
• Sorrel

Shoot me an email if you’re interested—I’m pretty sure I can fill 20-ish boxes. shelley@whistlingtrainfarm.com

These were a big experiment last year. They are a cross between Brussels Sprouts and Red Russian Kale. They take 140 days to mature from transplanting (which we did in July) and we've been devouring them all winter. Sweet, and lovely to look at. We like them sautéed with garlic or roasted in the oven.

These were a big experiment last year. They are a cross between Brussels Sprouts and Red Russian Kale. They take 140 days to mature from transplanting (which we did in July) and we’ve been devouring them all winter. Sweet, and lovely to look at. We like them sautéed with garlic or roasted in the oven.

We still have space in our Summer/Fall/Winter CSA seasons! Click here to sign up today. AND, to celebrate National CSA Day on February 26 (yes, it’s a thing now), we are offering a free week of Summer CSA produce to anyone who refers a friend or relative! Spread the word! 2016 is going to be amazing!